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Former Army Chief Manoj Mukund Naravane on confrontation with Xi Jinping on China India China border on LAC Ladakh

Former Chief of Army Staff, General (Retd) Manoj Mukund Naravane has detailed the Indian response to Chinese aggression in his memoir, “Four Stars of Destiny”, which provides a gripping account of the deadly Galwan Valley clashes in 2020. The 28th Army chief highlighted how India stood up to China’s “wolf-warrior diplomacy” and “salami-slicing tactics” that were intimidating the smaller neighbour, news agency PTI told PTI.

Recalling the tragic Galwan Valley incident in June 2020, Naravane said it was a turning point where the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) suffered fatal casualties for the first time in two decades. According to PTI, he said, “June 16 is (Chinese President) Xi Jinping’s birthday. It is not a day he will soon forget. For the first time in two decades, the Chinese and the PLA have suffered fatal casualties. ” Report.

The memoir highlights the confrontation in eastern Ladakh, describing it as a significant challenge during Naravane’s tenure as Army Chief from December 31, 2019, to April 30, 2022. He stressed that China was adopting an aggressive strategy, which would lead India and the Indian Army to take on “neighborhood goons”.

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Naravane discusses reasons for India’s confrontation with China in eastern Ladakh

Reflecting on the Galwan Valley clash, Naravane pointed out that it occurred due to the Chinese PLA’s refusal to remove the tents pitched at Patrolling Point 14. The Indian Army decided to set up tents of its own in response, leading to a violent reaction from the Chinese side.

“They were recklessly pursuing wolf-warrior diplomacy and salami-slicing tactics everywhere, intimidating smaller neighbors like Nepal and Bhutan, while asserting their growing claims in the South China Sea without paying any price, especially “It helped India and the Indian Army show the world that enough is enough and challenge the neighborhood goons,” he commented, according to the report.

Describing the night of the clash, Naravane explained in detail the fierce clash where neither side opened fire but used batons, sticks and stones. The violence resulted in the death of 20 Indian Army personnel, making it “one of the saddest days” in the former army chief’s career.

“We are in a profession where death is always lurking around the corner. Every patrol or ambush could be your last. As a company and battalion commander, my unit had to suffer casualties, and I was not afraid of adversity or Always remained calm in the face of bad news. Still, losing 20 people in a day was hard to bear,” he writes.

Army soldiers saw ‘several bodies pulled out of water’: Naravane on PLA casualties in LAC clash

Regarding casualties on the Chinese side, Naravane referred to reports that indicate substantial losses.

He said, “Our men who were in Chinese hands were kept in the open and saw many bodies being taken out of the river. Whenever this happened, they were subjected to fresh beatings.”

He added, “The sheer brutality of their reaction was in itself indicative of the damage they had suffered.” Naravane cited a report by Australian researchers which put the figure at at least 38 and a Russian (TASS) report which estimated that about 45 people were killed.

The memoir highlights how the crisis in eastern Ladakh prompted the Army to rebalance to the northern front. Naravane said the increase in force ratio on the northern front acts as a deterrent, making the PLA think twice before any misadventure. “In our posture against China, we have moved from disarming deterrence (defensive) to credible deterrence (offensive deterrence),” he said.

Regarding the ongoing border dispute, Naravane suggested resumption of special-representative level talks and proposed a “non-aggression” agreement between India and China. He believes that such an agreement would restore trust and help in reducing tensions and delinking forces.

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